Open main menu


Etymology 1Edit

From Latin intricatus, past participle of intricare.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɪn.tɹɪ.kət/
  • (file)


intricate (comparative more intricate, superlative most intricate)

  1. Having a great deal of fine detail or complexity.
    The architecture of this clock is very intricate.
    • Joseph Addison (1672–1719)
      His style was fit to convey the most intricate business to the understanding with the utmost clearness.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter V, in The Younger Set, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 24962326:
      As a matter of fact its narrow ornate façade presented not a single quiet space that the eyes might rest on after a tiring attempt to follow and codify the arabesques, foliations, and intricate vermiculations of what some disrespectfully dubbed as “near-aissance.”

Etymology 2Edit

As the adjective; or by analogy with extricate



intricate (third-person singular simple present intricates, present participle intricating, simple past and past participle intricated)

  1. (intransitive) To become enmeshed or entangled.
    • 1864 October 18, J.E. Freund, “How to Avoid the Use of Lint”, letter to the editor, in The New York Times (1864 October 23):
      [] washes off easily, without sticking or intricating into the wound.
  2. (transitive) To enmesh or entangle: to cause to intricate.
    • 1994 December 12, William Safire, “Avoid Dunkirk II” (essay), in The New York Times:
      But the British and French won't hear of that; they want to get their troops extricated and our ground troops intricated.